Friday, July 08, 2016

Music Friday: 'I Was Your Amber, But Now She's Your Shade of Gold,' Sings Demi Lovato in 'Stone Cold'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring great new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today's installment features Demi Lovato performing "Stone Cold," her rousing 2015 ballad about the pain of watching an ex-boyfriend moving on to a new relationship.


"This song hurts so unbelievably bad. And when I perform it on a TV show, in rehearsals or even in a bathtub, it completely takes me to a different place," Lovato told her 42 million Instagram followers.

Lovato seems to channel English superstar Adele as she sings, "Stone cold, stone cold / I was your amber, but now she's your shade of gold."

She noted that the process of writing and recording "Stone Cold" was therapeutic. For her, the song became a source of healing and catharsis. The 23-year-old believes "Stone Cold" is a song people can listen to when they're going through a breakup, or they're thinking about a time when they were heartbroken.

"It's gonna give them that voice that they need to hear in order to get past things and process how they feel," she told

Lovato called “Stone Cold” her favorite song off her Confident album. She also believed her rendition of the song was worthy of a Grammy nomination.


She told Complex, “I want the Grammy committee to hear [that song] so that one day they can see that I know that I’m capable of getting there. You can’t go higher than the Grammys in the music industry. That was a huge goal for this album. I watched the Grammy nominations last year and I was like, 'I want to be there so bad.'"

Born in Dallas in 1992, Demetria Devonne Lovato got her first break at the age of 7 as a cast member of Barney and Friends. Trivia alert: Acting alongside Lovato on the TV show was her best friend, Selena Gomez. In 2008, Lovato starred in the Disney Channel television film Camp Rock and, shortly thereafter, signed a recording contract with Hollywood Records.

Please check out the video of Lovato performing "Stone Cold" at the Billboard Women in Music event in New York City in 2015. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Stone Cold"
Written by Demi Lovato and Laleh Pourkarim. Performed by Demi Lovato.

Stone cold, stone cold
You see me standing, but I'm dying on the floor
Stone cold, stone cold
Maybe if I don't cry, I won't feel anymore

Stone cold, baby
God knows I tried to feel
Happy for you
Know that I am, even if I
Can't understand, I'll take the pain
Give me the truth, me and my heart
We'll make it through
If happy is her, I'm happy for you

Stone cold, stone cold
You're dancing with her, while I'm staring at my phone
Stone cold, stone cold
I was your amber, but now she's your shade of gold

Stone cold, baby
God knows I tried to feel
Happy for you
Know that I am, even if I
Can't understand, I'll take the pain
Give me the truth, me and my heart
We'll make it through
If happy is her, I'm happy for you

Credits: Screen captures via

Thursday, July 07, 2016

New Scanning Technology Protects Mammoth Diamonds From Getting Crushed in the Mining Process

Executives from two of the world's top-producing diamond mines revealed to how new scanning technology is helping to preserve the largest diamonds during the often-damaging extraction process.


Throughout history, diamond-bearing rock was typically drilled, blasted, hauled and put through crushing machines to get to the gems that may be hiding within. During that process, extremely large diamonds, some weighing hundreds of carats, were often damaged or even pulverized.


In fact, the highly publicized 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond was determined to be part of a much larger stone. Lucara CEO William Lamb told that it was actually fortunate that a 374-carat chunk broke off the larger stone because Lucara's plant was not designed to process such large material. A 1,500-carat diamond would have been crushed.


“When people say you broke a 1,500-carat diamond, I say we recovered an 1,100-carat diamond,” Lucara CEO William Lamb told “The words ‘mining’ and ‘gentle’ don’t go very well together.”

With the advent of XRT scanners, the mining process is becoming a bit kinder and gentler. As the rock-like material comes down a conveyor belt, the scanners can pick out the diamonds based on their chemical composition. Older scanners used to depend strictly on the stone's ability to reflect light.

The diamond-rich material is then separated from the rubble and moved to a secure area for processing, according to

In the small kingdom of Lesotho, the Letšeng mine produces just 1.6 carats of diamonds for every 100 tons of rock. But despite that tiny output, the mine boasts an average per-carat value of $2,299, the highest in the industry. That's because Letšeng is one of two diamond mines famous for generating the largest and finest-quality diamonds in the world.

The other is the Karowe mine in Botswana, which is the source of Lesedi La Rona, the second-largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered. The gem failed to sell at auction last week when bidding stalled at $61 million. Still, that number was equivalent to $55,000 per carat.

Together, the Karowe and Letšeng mines lay claim to 15 of the 20 largest white diamonds discovered over the past decade, and just about all of them had been part of a larger stone.

“Since the time of the caveman mining hasn’t changed much," Clifford Elphick, chief executive officer of Gem Diamonds Ltd., told "You pulverize the rock and take out what you want. That’s fine in the metals business, but in the diamond business it’s not an appealing technique.”

“We’ve made important inroads, but we certainly haven’t solved the problem because we’re still using the same basic technology,” said Elphick. “What will solve this is a massive technical breakthrough. That is the holy grail for us.”

Gem Diamonds is currently working on a strategy that places XRT scanners earlier in the mining process so the largest diamonds can be identified before the crushing phase.

“We suspect there is the odd 1,000-carat diamond contained within the ore body,” said Gem Diamonds' former COO Alan Ashworth. “But you never know when the diamond is going to be liberated.”

Credits: Image of Lesedi La Rona courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corp. All others courtesy of Gem Diamonds Ltd.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Opals Reveal Clues About How Asteroids Could Be the Source of Earth's Water

Precious opals are unusual because 3% to 30% of their content is made up of water. So, when planetary scientists discovered opal fragments embedded in a meteorite that crashed down in Antarctica, they wondered if Earth's life-giving water was actually ferried here by asteroids and meteorites eons ago.


Led by Professor Hilary Downes of Birkbeck College London, a team of scientists studied a meteorite named EET 83309. It was made up of thousands of broken pieces of rocks and minerals, which led the team to surmise that it was once part of an asteroid. Using an electron microscope, the scientists determined that the opal fragments existed in the meteorite long before it landed on the Antarctic ice.

"The pieces of opal we have found are either broken fragments or they are replacing other minerals," Downes commented. "Our evidence shows that the opal formed before the meteorite was blasted off from the surface of the parent asteroid and sent into space, eventually to land on Earth in Antarctica."

"This is more evidence that meteorites and asteroids can carry large amounts of water ice," she continued. "Although we rightly worry about the consequences of the impact of large asteroid, billions of years ago they may have brought the water to the Earth and helped it become the world teeming with life that we live in today."

Downes and her team delivered their findings to the National Astronomy Meeting in Nottingham, England, on June 27.


One of October's official birthstones, the precious opal is universally loved because it often presents all the colors of the rainbow. Each opal is truly unique and more than 95% of fine opals are sourced in Australia. Geologists believe they form in and around hot springs, a fact that sparks great excitement when a meteorite embedded with opal falls to Earth.

Last July, for example, researchers at the University of Glasgow discovered traces of fire opal in the famous Nakhla meteorite, which crashed in Egypt in 1911. The meteorite originated on Mars, which opened speculation of the presence of water, and possibly life, on the Red Planet.

Credits: Opal (top) by Daniel Mekis (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Opal (bottom) by Dpulitzer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Former University of Kentucky Cheerleaders Star in This Remarkable Engagement Photo

Two former cheerleaders from the University of Kentucky's national championship squad posed for an engagement photo so amazing that social media skeptics insisted that it must have been Photoshopped.


In the shot that was taken moments after Adam Sunderhaus proposed to Ashley Vennetti on the beach in Turks and Caicos, the couple is seen in a gravity-defying cheerleading pose called a "cupie." The powerful Sunderhaus poses in the sand, left hand at his waist and right hand raised straight in the air, while the petite Vennetti stands casually on his outstretched palm. The fingers of her left hand are spread out in front of her face to show off her engagement ring. In the background is glorious sunset.

Huffington Post UK described it as "probably the most incredible engagement photo shoot we’ve ever seen."

Reddit participants used Google's photo search to come up with evidence that the images of Sunderhaus and Vennetti were somehow edited together.


Needless to say, those naysayers came up empty, because the couple has performed the cupie more than 1,000 times during their cheerleading careers at the University of Kentucky.

"It's a common stunt," Vennetti told Inside Edition, whose reporters were attempting to verify whether the image was real. Vennetti provided the syndicated celebrity news show with photo evidence of the couple performing the stunt in front of Wrigley Field in Chicago and at Disney World in Orlando. They also performed the cupie in real time for Inside Edition's viewers.

Added Sunderhaus, "[The cupie] is kind of our cool signature way to take a picture.”

Few people would know of the talented couple had it not been for the University of Kentucky Cheerleading Facebook page, where the engagement pic was posted on June 29. Over the next few days it drew 22,000 reactions and 1,700 shares.

“I didn’t think it was going to go viral,” Jomo Thompson, UK’s head cheerleading coach, told “Both Ashley and Adam are two wonderful people. Ashley has a heart of gold… and Adam is a hardworking guy, very likable as well. Kentucky cheerleading is about more than just cheer."

Vennetti and Sunderhaus met on the University of Kentucky cheerleading squad and were friends for two years before they started dating. During their time at UK, they were members of the squad that won the Universal Cheerleaders Association National College Cheerleading Championship in 2012 and 2014.


On Instagram, Sunderhaus posted a photo of himself and his new fiancée with the caption, "She said YES! Can't wait to marry my best friend & the love of my life!"

On Twitter, Vennetti showed her appreciation to the University of Kentucky Cheerleading squad, writing, "Forever grateful to this program for bringing us together!

Sunderhaus told that the couple is planning a wedding for the late summer of 2017.

Credits: Photos via Facebook/University of Kentucky Cheerleading; Instagram/AdamSunderhaus; Twitter/AshleyVennetti.